Having your period is not always easy. Menstrual pain, cramps, mood swings and hormones in a tangle. But no matter how we feel we always have access to sanitary protection. In other parts of the world the situation looks much different and is far from the one we have here. There is not always menstrual protection available, and if there are, it is pads that are very expensive. Due to the economic situation there are very few women, if any of them, that have the option to use pads for an entire period. They are simply too expensive. Therefore, many women are forced to use leaves, grass, pieces of fabric, old rags or mattress pieces – anything that is at hand. The risk of infection is high, and the leakages many.
In developing countries, in Africa among others, the myths surrounding menstruation are numerous, and the taboo is incredibly excessive. Due to lack of menstrual protection many girls are forced to stay home from school during their period. Being at home one week per month easily sums up to a quarter of their total education – simply because they are menstruating! For many of the girls it becomes difficult to complete their education, they have lost too much of their basic knowledges. To survive, these girls are forced to marry at an age too young, and given the scarcity of contraceptives it will result in children giving birth. A frightening reality.
One of the first and foremost reasons why we started our own production of menstrual cups where to be able to make a difference for these women. We subsidize our cups so that they can be bought by organizations or individuals wo want to make a difference. You can also buy a cup for donation to the next project on our list. However, when we help out by donating our cups to different projects we do have some demands. We want the girls to be educated about their periods and their rights, we want photos and information about the process too. Since the myths that abound menstruation are so many it is not possible to send 1000 menstrual cups and believe that you have done something good, because the problem extend so much further. Therefore, we require education for the women who get one of our menstrual cups. Many times, the women in these countries do not even know why they are menstruating, what it is or how to handle it. In most areas a menstruating woman is considered dirty, and during the week she is menstruating she can not touch anyone and therefore has to stay by herself out in a hut separated from her family. It is also believed that the girls who uses a menstrual cup could lose their virginity, which is absolutely unthinkable before a potential future marriage. It is a big problem, and unfortunately, in many countries it has to do with women’s low value.
It takes quite a lot more than just menstrual cups to improve the situation for women in developing countries. Of course, we answer questions and try to help out as much as we can, but it is those who actually travel, to educate women, who are the real stars! So far, we have several successful projects in both Senegal and Uganda, just to mention a few. It is tremendously amazing to be able to make a difference, and if only one woman stays in school, we are extremely grateful!